Norfolk Southern’s 2Q profit doubles as volume returns

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Norfolk Southern’s second-quarter profit more than doubled as the number of shipments the railroad hauled rebounded 25% from the worst of the coronavirus pandemic a year ago.

The railroad said it earned $819 million, or $3.28 per share. That is up from $392 million, or $1.53 per share, a year ago.

The results beat Wall Street expectations. The analysts surveyed by FactSet expected Norfolk Southern to report earnings per share of $2.95.

A year ago, the number of shipments the railroad delivered fell 26% as the restrictions designed to slow the spread of the virus slowed the economy to a crawl. This year, shipments were up in every category as business continued to recover. The biggest jump came in automotive shipments where the number of carloads the railroad delivered more than doubled over last year when many auto plants were shut down.

Norfolk Southern’s revenue surged 34% to $2.799 billion in the quarter. That also topped the $2.75 billion that analysts predicted.

The Norfolk, Virginia-based company is one of the nation’s largest railroads, and it operates about 19,500 miles of track in 22 Eastern states and the District of Columbia.

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